On this day in 1913, the Athens Banner relayed this story about a police officer who took pity on one of their arrested men:
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The first medal was awarded to Mrs. Erwin's husband, Judge Alexander S. Erwin of Athens, who had fought at Gettysburg during the war. The Cobb-Deloney Confederate Veterans passed a resolution that the Judge receive "the No. 1 medal," "this gift of honor to southern heroism and true Confederate gallantry."
The UDC awarded crosses to 78,761 men between 1900 and 1913. It was against the law in some states (and still in Virginia) to wear a Southern Cross of Honor not bestowed to you, so the "unknown man" was probably a veteran of the Civil War, one who, like many, fell on hard times in the following years.
Typically, a 360 violation cost the offender a $5.00 fine plus $1.25 in court costs, equivalent to $146.00 today. Many violators would pay such a fine over a period of weeks, $1 or $2 at a time. Those who did not have a steady income would be forced to work off the fine at 50 cents per day on public works projects in town, such as paving roads or installing the city's sewer system.
- Athens Banner, Oct. 1913 - Dec. 1913 on Microfilm in the Heritage collection.
- Athens Historic Newspaper Archive collection in the Digital Library of Georgia.
- History of Athens and Clarke County by H. J. Rowe in the Heritage and general collections.
- Oconee Hill Cemetery, Athens, Georgia, Volume I, by Charlotte Thomas Marshall in the Heritage and general collections.
- Roster of Confederate Graves, Georgia Division by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in the Heritage collection.
- Gettysburg: Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill by Harry W. Pfanz in the general collection.
- The Civil War: The First Year by Those Who Lived It by Brooks D. Simpson in the general collection.
- Mothers of Invention by Drew Gilpin Faust in the general collection.
- Southern Cross of Honor history page.